Friday, October 18, 2013

This is Home, Part 28 - Electricity, mail, Mom shopped, the lunch counter, crops, gardens and pesticides, no irrigation, the plane in the pasture

This is part 28 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.


President Roosevelt's rural electrification program worked. Somewhere around my Freshman year, we got electricity, as did our neighbors. The white light was lovely compared to the yellow lamp light.


The men had moved the mailbox up by the garage. The carrier came by in his Model A. I used to run out and get the mail and he started holding out Edgar's letter to me and saying, "He sent you a letter today."

Sometimes, when it was cold and bad, the mail carrier would come into the house, sit by the fire awhile, and have a cup of coffee and talk.

Edgar and I used air mail stamps on our letters. They were five cents. A regular stamp was three cents.

Mom shopped

Sometimes, Uncle Doc would take mom to town while we were at school. When we got home, we would find new skirts and blouses on our beds. Sometimes, we would have sweater sets instead. Socks, too, with either.

I liked -- and still like -- wool skirts because they fit well and feel good. Of course, they had to be dry cleaned.

The lunch counter

When I was in college, I had a friend, Nancy, who worked at a pharmacy. They had a lunch counter she worked behind. I used to eat there everyday. I could get a grilled pimento cheese sandwich or a ham salad for fifteen cents and a Coke for five cents. No tax. Sometimes, I would have the chicken salad sandwich for 20 cents plus a Coke for five cents.

Things were a lot cheaper then, but income was less.

Crops, gardens and pesticides

Crops and gardens were never sprayed with anything on either farm. No other farmer in our area sprayed crops, either. The noise of a plane close to the ground and a cloud of what looks like dust is not something one could hide.

The soil on the big farm was very acid. Sometimes -- years apart -- Daddy would lime the fields to improve the soil. I can only remember this happening three times, but it could have happened when I was gone.

Actually, I think the acid soil was responsible for the beautiful color of the flowers and how well everything grew.

Daddy planted more grass in the yard for several years, then waited a few years. He had a sort of sack-like thing with a strap over the opposite shoulder that he put seed in and threw it out by hand as he walked around the yard. The yard was planted with bluegrass and some other grass. I keep thinking rye, but the description in the dictionary doesn't sound anything like the grass we had. The grass was very tender, cool blades that were single. It actually felt soft. The yard was covered with grass. So were the pastures.

No irrigation

There was also no irrigation. Water was provided by the frequent rains.

We had a changeable, capricious weather pattern. There was a saying back there: "If you don't like the weather, wait a while and it will change."

The plane in the pasture

One summer day, a small private plane landed on the rise in the pasture. This was the pasture between the house and the mailbox. The side David and I saw.

The men must have seen it come down, because by the time the pilot walked to the house, they were all coming into the yard. They got the container or containers of gasoline the pilot needed and he invited all of us to come see his plane. So we all walked over in the pasture with him and admired the plane.

See, one never knows what interesting thing will happen on a farm! I must have been in late grade school or early high school at that time.

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This is Home, Part 27 - Edgar, Edgar joins the Navy, square dancing

This is part 27 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.


When I became a Freshman, I saw this really dreamy guy. I kept meeting him in the hall when we were going opposite directions to class. He had brown wavy hair, blue eyes, and wore glasses. He was also wearing casual dress clothes that looked really good on him. No blue jeans like everyone else. His clothes were also pressed with sharp creases. I found out he was a Junior and his name was Edgar Taylor, Jr. Bea's brother-in-law and Howard's younger brother.

Martha and I started calling him "Mr. Glasses" so hopefully the other kids wouldn't know who we were talking about if they overheard.

I had a date with Edgar during the latter part of my sophomore year. He took me to a calico hop at the school.

After school was out, we dated a lot. He gave me his class ring to signify we were going steady. I put medical tape on the inside and wore it on my ring finger.

He had graduated from high school at the end of my sophomore year.

Edgar joins the Navy

Edgar had to spend some time in the armed forces, as did all young men. So he joined the Navy for four years. He came home every chance he got. Just like in the movies, he hitched a ride. Then sometimes he got a leave.

He was stationed in San Diego finally and from there was sent in a ship with his division to patrol the waters around Korea. I didn't know where he was until later; everything was secret. I wrote to a San Diego address and the letter was sent from there to him. We tried to write every day. Sometimes, the mail didn't get through and we would not get any letters, then would get several.

We had fun when he got a leave. We went to movies, went to see Bea and Howard where we played cards and laughed, went walking in the pasture, and sometimes went to a teen hangout where we drank Coke, talked and listened to the jukebox.

Square dancing

One time we went to a square dance at Edgar's parent's home. Edgar and James tried to show me how, but it was hopeless. I couldn't understand what the caller was saying. James was Edgar's younger brother.

Funny -- Mom said she used to love to square dance. Her father fiddled for dances, sometimes.

Uncle Doc used to like to square dance, too, he said.

After we came home from a date, we used to sit in Edgar's car by the garage with the yard light blazing in and talk.

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This is Home, Part 26 - How to find a husband, a Freshman in high school, Martha, skating and Charley, Bea divorces, remarries

This is part 26 of my mother's book about her life, written in 2004.

How to find a husband

When I was in high school -- all the way through it -- the girls did not plan to work. They intended to get married, instead. Even in college, this was true. They just went to college to find someone to marry. The magazines during that time had all sorts of advice on attracting a husband. Part of the advice was listening to his opinions instead of expressing yours. Never admit that you know things he doesn't. Never beat him in any kind of game. Encourage him to talk about himself and his job. Listen and look interested. Make him feel important.

They even had advice on manners such as who walked down a movie theater aisle first behind the usher. We had ushers with flashlights who found a seat for people then.

Articles like this were in Redbook, Good Housekeeping and other magazines of this type. Even Glamour, I think it was.

A Freshman in high school

Anyway, high school was a lot of fun, except the punishment for being a Freshman girl was dressing in blue jeans for a certain time period. I didn't have jeans, so Aunt Edith or Bea borrowed a pair of Edgar's from his mother. They weren't a bad fit, except the waist was larger than mine and they were a lot too long. I wore a belt and rolled them up. We were supposed to look like boys, so no makeup. I only wore lipstick and powder anyway, so that didn't bother me too much.


I kept getting to the room I was supposed to have a class in earlier than anyone else, except this tall girl with light brown shoulder length hair and big blue eyes. After we had stood together for several classes a day waiting for the door to be opened, for maybe a couple of days, we finally started talking.

We became best friends and walked around together. We stayed all night at each other's homes and sometimes we stayed weekends.

Her name was Martha Riley. We had the same initials and our fathers were both named Ernest, so they had the same initials.

When I first told Mom about her, she said she remembered seeing her at the grade school graduation.

Skating and Charley

Martha and Jean got along well. One time they decided to see if they could skate. Mom said it would be all right if they skated along one side of the wall in the South bedroom, since the "room size" carpet left quite a bit of space along the sides. Mom was just going to redo the floor later if it needed it.

Anyway, they took turns skating along while holding onto things. I think they finally got bold enough to go outside on the walk. I don't remember them falling.

Charley, Daddy and Uncle Doc came home for dinner. Someone talked Charley into trying skating. It wasn't me -- I didn't think it looked like fun. I thought it looked like work and maybe a broken bone.

Charley put on the skates and tried to skate on the walk. The first thing that happened, his feet shot out from under him and he landed on his back. He looked so funny that everyone laughed, then asked if he was okay and helped him up. He was, but I don't think anyone skated after that. It was time for dinner, anyway.

Bea divorces, remarries

Bea and Bob were divorced after he came home. She met Howard Taylor, later, and after awhile they were married. Howard was good looking. He had dark hair and blue eyes and a nice smile. I liked him.

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